Women in Cybersecurity Conference 2016

Posted by Kathleen Smith

WicysIt is important to volunteer and support communities. There are many kinds of communities within cybersecurity; several which are specifically to support young women exploring careers in cybersecurity. One such conference that I support is the Women in Cybersecurity Conference (WiCyS), held this year March 31 – April 2, in Dallas, Texas.

WiCyS is a forum for women to expand their opportunities in the field of cybersecurity. An attendee from last year’s event said, “It really allowed me to see different paths and provided me advice that will lead me to a more successful career in cybersecurity.” Organizers say the event is intended to ignite interest among women to recognize cybersecurity as a career option.

WiCyS was launched in 2013 by Dr. Ambareen Siraj, Computer Science, Tennessee Tech University, as a collaborative project between Tennessee Tech, University of Memphis and Jackson State Community College. “After seeing so few women in my courses, I wanted to create an opportunity for women to learn from other women about the field of cybersecurity and to be motivated to seek opportunities and resources within,” Dr. Siraj said.

The annual WiCyS conference is organized by the Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center at Tennessee Tech in partnership with a regional university. This year’s local host for the conference is The University of Texas at Dallas. “I’m passionate about encouraging females to join technology careers, particularly cybersecurity. UT Dallas is excited to be hosting the event this year,” said Dr. Janell Straach, Senior Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at UT Dallas. Dr. Straach also serves as co-chair of the event.

Since 2013, with support from various industry, government and academic partners, WiCyS has successfully worked to recruit, retain and advance women in cybersecurity. Early supporters of WiCyS are Facebook and CyberPoint International.

“CyberPoint International is committed to encouraging women to choose and have successful careers in cybersecurity,” said Sherri Ramsay, Senior Advisor, CyberPoint International and a past WiCyS keynote presenter. “The Women in Cybersecurity Conference is a wonderful opportunity for women to come together to network and create connections, to inspire each other, to learn from one another, and to help each other succeed.”

Speakers for this year’s event include:

  • Regina Wallace-Jones, Head of Security Operations, Facebook
  • Margaret N. White, VP Senior Information Security Officer, Global Information Security, Bank of America
  • Michele Myauo, Director of Cybersecurity, Microsoft
  • Heather Adkins, Founding member of the Google Security Team

As part of our support for the WiCyS conference, we interviewed the two companies that were early supporters of the conference. Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing interviews from key women security leaders at both companies.



This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2016 8:35 am

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